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Full text of "On an Irish MS. of the Four Gospels in the British Museum"

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45 

bres par leurs travaux pleins d'erudition et de sagacite sur 
l'Egypte ancienne, qui vous l'attesteront. Mais il n'y aura 
guere un seul parmi tous ceux qui se sont occupe de ce grand 
probleme, qui ne serait d'accord, que les elemens de cette 
question immense existent et sont accessibles dans un si grand 
nombre, que, dans un temps pas trop eloigne, la science pourra 
et devra se decider pour l'une ou l'autre des solutions nom- 
breuses qui ont ete proposees dans les derniers temps, et accep- 
ter, je ne dis pas toutes les particularites, mais bien les princi- 
pes fondamentaux d'une d'entre elles. Des lors seulement 
l'importance des etudes egyptiennes, et leur influence puis- 
sante sur toutes les sciences historiques et antiquaires, sera 
mise en pleine evidence. 

" Veuillez etre, Monsieur le President, l'interprete de sen- 
timens sinceres de ma profonde gratitude aupres de MM. vos 
savans collegues, et agreer pour vous-memes l'expression de 
la haute consideration avec laquelle j'ai l'honneur d'etre, 

" Monsieur le President, 

" Votre tres humble Serviteur, 

" K. Lbpsius." 



Dr. Ball exhibited some articles made of stone, now in use 
amongst nations in an early stage of civilization in distant 
parts of the -world, with the view of showing, that antiquities 
found in Ireland may be illustrated by comparison with ob- 
jects of this nature. 

Dr. Petrie restored to the Academy the original wooden 
covers, with their ornaments, belonging to the MS. known as 
the Book of Lecan, and now in the Library of the Academy. 



Rev. Dr. Reeves read a paper descriptive of a certain Irish 
MS. of the four Gospels, examined by him in the British 
Museum. 

Among the manuscripts in the British Museum is one 



46 

which, though neither so ancient nor so brilliantly illuminated 
as some others of the Irish school, is yet of peculiar interest, 
on account of its exquisite penmanship, and the precision with 
which its date has been ascertained. It belongs to a period in 
Irish history of which there are scarcely any other biblical re- 
mains, and is further valuable in that it serves as an excellent 
standard of the handwriting which was practised in this coun- 
try in the early part of the twelfth century. It is in the 
Harleian collection, No. 1802, small quarto, consisting of 156 
folios, the page measuring 6| by 4| inches. It contains the 
Latin text of the four Gospels, agreeing very nearly with the 
Vulgate, accompanied by preliminary matter, and a running 
commentary in the form of marginal and interlinear scholia. 

Fol. 1 commences with the prologue of St. Jerom, be- 
ginning " Novum opus facere me cogis." At folio 3 follows 
the " Argumentum Evangelii Matthei." In a note on the 
upper margin the following scrap of etymology occurs : " Ar- 
gumentum, argutum inventum ; argumentatio, argutaj mentis 
ratio." 

Fol. 3 b. The genealogy of our Saviour, with notes. Upon 
which Wanley observes : " This is written separately from the 
rest of the Gospel, and amongst other prefaces ; as being 
looked upon but as a preface. I have seen other ancient co- 
pies of the Evangelists, written in Ireland, or coming from 
books written by Irishmen, wherein, although the sacred ge- 
nealogy was not rejected or misplaced, there would neverthe- 
less appear a great distinction between it and what followed ; 
the words 'Christi autem Generatio' being illuminated again, 
as if the Gospel had begun there."* 

Fol. 4 b. An interpretation of the Hebrew and Syriac 
names which occur in the Gospels, "perhaps," says Wanley, 
" taken from St. Hierom." 



* Catalogue of the manuscripts in the Harleian Collection, vol. v. pp. 180- 
207. MS. Brit. Mus. 



47 

Fol. 5 b. An Irish poem on the Wise Men of the East 
who were led by the star to Bethlehem, consisting of eleven 
quatrains. Notwithstanding the assistance of Toland, who 
professed to be well versed in the Irish language, Wanley has 
so far erred in his estimate of this composition that he styles 
it " Glossariolum quoddam Hebraice, Latine, et Hybernice ;" 
and Mr. Westwood, in his Palsographia Sacra, repeats the 
statement. The poem is as follows, and the accompany- 
ing translation is from the accurate pen of Mr. Eugene 
Curry. 

Ouyuliup humilip apt) 
TTlalgalab nunciup nCpcgapj; 
TTlelco mono" ^ la * con Tnebail 
go nulcha lech kmlebuip 

Sen 01 p bpoic buibe 
lnaip ftiaip 50 glanmec 
lalacpamb bpic glaip gen bpon 
Ni po epb in pi gen pig op 

Qpenup pibelip pial 
^at^alaO beuocup bian 
Ruab pep Cappap lap cumcaeh 
5'Ua nua-jjel nemulcac 

bpac copcpa unman cupaib caim 
lnaip buioe cfn bpecup 
5^ciip lalacpamb mpaic 
Cuip bo Dia bobeg cibnaic 

Oamapcup in qiep pep bib 
TDipepicopp gen impnim 
Smcepa jjpacia cen cache 
Pacipappac pip uallach 

pep obop bpoic copcpa bpecjil blabmaip 
Copcpa uapcach cen nnpaib 
lm lalacpmb buic buibe 
Do pac mipp bon mop buine 



48 

Q ceac p o anmanb na bpuab 

In ebjia hi <5P e,c ? ia 5P a b ^ uat) 
lllacm nach gluaip spaba 
1 m bepla uaip Opabba 

Oach a necaic epcib lib 
Ria cancam in cech coemchaig 
Selua pop jjaeppa gala 
Oebbae QCpae Cpcibae 

Cpiap bona opuoib gen o6p 
Gpeba inb apcaeib ba apt) n6p 
Cpi ecaige im each pep bib 
Don bi cpfcabe cfn bimbpig 

TTIaipe, lopeph, Semion paep 
Q cpeb luba na napb maCp 
lp in C15 banab caep cech boie 
dpofn ppipi Cpmoic 

Co nepnum bo pep a pi 
Ippi bomen papmopgni 
lp maic biap cobaip acup 
O pocabaip Qupiliup. 



Aurilius, Humilis, the noble, 

Malgalad, Nuntius, of fierce strength, 
Melcho the grey-haired, without guile, 
With his grey and very long beard. 

A senior with a graceful yellow cloak, 
With a grey frock of ample size, 
Speckled and grey sandals without fault, 
He approached not the King without royal gold. 

Arenus, Fidelis, the munificent, 
Galgalad the devout and fervent ; 
A red man was Caspar in his vesture, 
A fair, blooming, beardless youth. 



49 

A crimson cloak round the comely champion, 
A yellow frock without variety, 
Grey and close-fitting sandals : 
Frankincense unto God he freely presented. 

Damascus was the third man of them, 
Misericors, without dejection, 
Sincera gratia without restraint, 
Patifarsat the truly-grand. 

A grizzled man with a crimson, white-spotted cloak : 
Crimsoned stood he, above all -without competition, 
With soft and yellow sandals, 
Who presented myrrh to the Great Man. 

These are the names of the Druids 

In Hebrew, in Greek to be quickly spoken, 

In Latin which runs not rapidly, 
In the noble language of Arabia. 

The colour of their clothes hear ye, 
As spoken in each of their countries: 
Selva, for the performers of heroic deeds, 
Debdae, Aesae, Escidae.* 



* The descriptive materials of this poem were probably derived from the 
Excerptiones Patrum, ascribed to Venerable Bede, and printed among his 
works. " Magi sunt, qui munera Domino dederunt : primus fuisse dicitur 
Melchior, senex et eanus, barba prolixa et capillis : tunica hyacinthina, sa- 
goque mileno, et calceamentis hyacinthino et albo mixto opere, pro mitrario 
variae compositionis indutus : aurum obtulit regi Domino. Secundus nomine 
Caspar, juvenis imberbis, rubicundus, mileniea tunica, sago rubco, calceamen- 
tis hyacinthinis vestitns : thure quasi Deo oblatione digna, Deum honorabat. 
Tertius fuscus, integre bavbatus, Balthasar nomine : habens tunicam rubeam, 
albo vario, calceamentis milenicis amictus : per myrrham filium hominis mo- 
riturum professus est. Omnia autem vestimenta eorum Syriaca sunt. Mun- 
dorum namqne est munda contingere." — Opera, vol. iii. col. 649. (Bas. 1563.) 

Zacharias Chrysopolitanus, or Goldsborough, who flourished A. D. 1150, 

gives their names thus : " Nomina trium magorum Hebraice, Apellius, Ame- 

rus, Damascus. Apellius interpretatur fidelis, Amerus humilis, Damascus 

misericors. Gra>ca lingua vocati sunt Magalath, Galgalath, Saracin : Maga- 

VOL. V. E 



50 

Three were the Druids -without gloom; 
Triple were their gifts in noble fashion; 
Three garments were upon each man of them ; 
From three worlds they came without debility. 

Mary, Joseph, and noble Simeon, 

Of the tribe of Judah of the noble kings, 

Are in the house in which every hand is a lighted torch, 

All together with the Trinity. 

May we do thy will, O King, 
And desire it with all our heart : 
Thou art gracious to relieve us in our distress, 
Since the day thou wast adored by Aurelius. 

At the foot of same page are two notes, the former pur- 
porting to be token from St. Gregory ; the latter from St. 
Jerom, in these words : "Augeant sacerdotes seientiam magis 
quam divitias, et non erubescant discere a laicis, qui noverint 
quae ad officium pertinent saccrdotum." 

Fol. 6. The Prologue to St. Mark, beginning " Marcus 
Evangelista Dei." 

Fol. 6 b. The Prologue to St. Luke, beginning " Lucas 
Syrus natione." 

At the extreme top of fol. 7 a the following quatrain oc- 
curs, written in a very minute hand, and apparently as an ex- 
ercise of the pen, or a burst of the fancy : 

lath interpretatur nuncius, Galgalath devotus, Saracin gratia." — Concord. 
Evang., lib. i. p. 47. (1535.) 

Petras Comestor, A. D. 1170, writes thus: " Nomina iii. Magorum hsec 
sunt Hebraice Appellus, Ameras, Damascus. Grace, Gaigalat, Magalath, 
Saraehim. Latine, Balthasar, Jaspar, Melehior.". — Hist. Evang. cap. yiii. 
" Qua? sane commenta sunt hominis Hebraice et Greece aique imperiti. Domi- 
nant alii Atorem, Satorem, Paratoram : ludibria omnia, et minime ante duo- 
decimum saiculum procusa; fabella;." — Calmet, Commentar. torn. vii. p. 65. 
(Aug. Vindel. 1735.) Casaubon, Exereitat. p. 136. (Francof. 1615.) In the 
Calendar they appear in this order : Gaspar, Jan. 1 (Act. SS. Jan. i. p. 8) ; 
Melehior, Jan. 6 (lb. p. 323) ; Balthasar, Jan. 1 1 (Ibid. p. 664). 



51 

bep. c — Celebpab en <rp maipi 

TTlaich bo chabcnnc bCp buine 
Cach bib po capap apaili 
In ba ni an eclaip huile 

Berchan cecinit. — ' The warbling of birds I observe, 

It is good to give tears to a man ; 
Each of them loves the other, 
As does the entire Church.' 

Fol. 7 b. The Prologue to St. John, beginning " Hie est 
Johannes." 

Fol. 8 b. A collection of extracts from Jerom, Gregory, 
and Bede. 

Fol. 9. Notes, wherein the Evangelists are fancifully com- 
pared to four liquors, four elements, four quarters of the 
world, four winds, four pillars. 

Fol. 9 b is entirely occupied by an Irish poem on the per- 
sonal appearance, and the manner of death, of Christ and his 
Apostles. It seems to be framed according to certain rules 
which guided the. ancient scribes in the illumination of their 
biblical manuscripts, and may possibly find a partial illustra- 
tion in the figures which appear in the Book of KeUs and 
other manuscripts of that class. 

becca na belba a6e belb t)e 
Ni belb bo pogam bofn gne 
pole bonb npi nonnual boi occa 
Ocup ulcha puab po acca. 

Oelb peoap abpcail po niacb, 
a mong glan pobo gle liac 
pmn connail in pep panaa 
gap lumcuTtiaip a ulcha. 

Pol appeal alamo a bpech 
5o pole fpcam uppmech 
Qep cumcha gop Oo chocca 
Ulcha poil ba pip pocca. 
k 2 



52 

lacob Clntopeap aep cumeha 
Pino a poilc pocca a n-ulcha 
lnmam po toiacon in toiap 
ecip lacob lp Gntopiap. 

6om bpunne balca t)e toil 
Robo toonto a pole ecm 
Rob bo chiunin cumcach 
Rob beimcem oc amulcafc. 

Pglipp, ulcha poca paip 
Ocup topeeh toepg po toegbail 
pole toepg uap ulca jipp 
pop popcolon pacep-bmto. 

Pole capp toub ap cinto TTIacha 
5an ginn bulca anplaca 
pole capp ap Cacha cen cap 
Ulcha compacca com Ian. 

lacob glunoch 50 511c glan 
TTlac Glbei nip becpocap 
pole liac ap lacob hule 
Ocup ulcha pinn-buoe. 

Ghomap, coga toelbe a toelb, 
Oonn cap a pole ni mnfpb 
Nip bo amb bom imp cumeha 
5apb japic a slan ulcha. 

pole piTin ap Sgmon poep peng 
Ocup cnep ofngel lmcenb 
Ocup ulcha ciptoub capp 
digito pucech, pope po glap. 

eoin bapci nip bo bochc 
Oonb a ulcha toonto a pole 
Oelba na pep peng peca 
Oaplem nitoac Ian becca. 



53 

•J" 6ol t>cun aibib Cpipc na cfc 
Ocup a t>a appeal beac 
Q mapbab bamonup mep 
Ip lolup gan mpeep 

Cpochab po epochal Cpipn cam 
5ap pia cpocat) pfcaip 
Laimclabib t>o mapbab poil 
Rob aibib anpail ecoip. 

Cpochab p^lipp pubap mop 
Ocup pennab popeholon 
Do claibiub po 5km gep slap 
Tfo mapbab 50 epfn Comap. 

TTlaeha in copcela pom cog 
Ppich oen nambap bamapbab 
Do cloich bacha ba puab pinb 
Soech lem Cacha bo chucim. 

lacob mac Qlphi, echc noil 
Rop poppaig papchi pip cpom 
Onbpeap appeal can coll 
puap hi cpoich eccamlonb 

lacob mac Cleopa ocup TTlaipe 
Cenn na nappcal nuapal napb 
lacob mac £ebic bemneipe 
Omapmaich ba 5mm gaps 

Gom na euach ocup na cpeb 
ba luach po choipe in ckubeb 
eoin bpune can bpeic bon much 
Cen bulle ace ce a ofnup 

luba po mapb Simon plan 
Ocup cloch po mapb Seephan 
TTlo bin bon each mapa cec 
Cpe pae in R15 nac po bic. b. 



54 

dncus a Cpipc cen chaipe 
dnmcnn hua TTlaelconaipe, 
Op ippepmi peccha recci 
hi pil lepcha Ian becca. b. 



Despicable all faces but the face of God: 
His was not a face adorned but by one complexion: 
An auburn, tripartite [head of] hair had he, 
And a beard red and very long. 

The face of the Apostle Peter was most venerable, 
His glossy hair was of shining grey; 
Fair and old was the favoured man ; 
Short and close was his beard. 

Paul the Apostle, brilliant was his face, 
With beautiful glossy hair; 
Until his companions had cut it off, 
The beard of Paul was very long.* 

James and Andrew were companions, 
Fair their hair, long their beards ; 
Beloved deacons were the two, 
Both James and Andrew. 

John of the bosom,•J■ the adopted of the loving God; 
Lightly auburn was his hair, 
Calm and placid was his countenance ; 
He was very gentle, young, and beardless. 

Philip, — a long beard had he, 
And a florid countenance of gracious aspect. 
Red hair, with a short beard, 
Had Partholan of the sweet prayers. 



* The allusion may be to Acts, xviii. 18, or xxi. 24. 
f The epithet is borrowed from John, xiii. 23 ; xxi. 20, 



55 

Black curly hair upon the head of Matthew, 
Without the sign of a tyrant's beard. 
Curling hair upon reproachless Thaddeus, 
With a full and long flowing beard. 

James of the knees,* of the clear voice, 

The eon of Alpheus, who was not merciless; 
All grey was the hair of James, 
With a beard of light yellow. 

Thomas, — choicest of faces was his face; 

Brown and curly was his hair without doubt; 
It was no blemish to my companion 
That coarse and short was his clean beard. 

Fair hair had Simon the noble, tall, 
And a pure white and robust body, 
And a jet black curling beard, 
A florid face, and a grey blue eye. 

John the Baptist was not poor, 
Brown his beard, brown his hair. 
Such were the visages of the slender, tall men, 
And I think they were not despicable. 

4« I know the fate of all-ruling Christ, 
And of his Twelve Apostles; 
To kill them was a deed of madness; 
Many are the authorities that relate it. 

On a cross was crucified the gentle Christ, 
Shortly before the crucifixion of Peter. 
A sword-girt hand to have slain Paul 
Was a fate both awful and unjust. 



* St. James the Less, so styled in allusion to the ancient tradition : a-irt <t- 
kXijicevoi t& yovara avrov Sixriv Ka/iriXov, Sia to ati Ka/jjrmv iiri yovv irpoa- 
Kwovvra rt} Qtif. — Euseb. Hist. Eccles. ii. 23. Hieronym. in Jovin. it 24. 
Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints, May 1. 



56 

The crucifying of Philip was a great pity ; 
And the flaying of Partholan.* 
With a bright, blue, sharp sword 
Was fiercely killed Thomas. f 

Matthew the Evangelist, my favourite, 
One single soldier was found to kill hiro.f 
By a coloured, red-pointed stone 
I grieve that Thaddeus felL§ 

James, son of Alpheus, awful deed! 
Was killed by a weighty mallet.)) 
Andrew, the guiltless Apostle, 
Upon a cross received an unfair death.f 

James, the son of Cleopas and Mary, 

The head of the noble illustrious Apostles.** 
James the son of Zebedee the guiltless, — 
To kill him was a dreadful deed. 

John of the lands and of the housesf \ 
Quickly was he cut off by the sword ; 

* An Irish form of the name Bartholomew. See Butler, Aug. 24. 

t The tradition is that he was pierced with a lance. Dec. 21. 

% Tradition says he was thrust through with a spear, while at the altar, 
by order of King Hircanus. 

§ This is St.Jude, called by St. Matthew "Lebbseus, whose surname 
was Tbaddseus." Greek writers state that he was shot with arrows, and 
others add, while on a cross. Oetob. 28. 

jj Kai Xafitiiv Tig air' aiir&v &£ rC>v Rvafkav rh %vXm> iv <p SfsmrUZe tA 
Ifi&ria, ijvtyice Kara rtjs M^aAije tov Siicalov — Euseb. Hist. Eccl.lL 23; also, 
ii. i. " Fullonis fuste, quo uda vestimenta extorqueri solent, in cerebro per- 
eussus interiit." — Hieronym. de Scriptor. Eccles. Butler, May 1. 

If So Hieronym. Catalogus Seriptoruns Ecclesiasticorum. 

** These two lines refer to the subject of the preceding quatrain, namely, 
James the Less, whose father Alpheus was supposed to be the same as Cleo- 
pas, and whose rank among the Apostles is implied in Acts, xv. 13, 19. 

tf This designation may be per antiphrasim, or an application of the pro- 
mise in Mark, x. 29, 30. In a preceding verse it is said "John the Baptist 
was not poor." 



51 

John of the bosom without being brought to the green,* 
Without a stroke, the only one to die. 

The Jews that killed the perfect Simon; 
And with stones was Stephen killed; 
May my protection be on them all if they will, 
Through the grace of the King who is not despicable. 

Save, O spotless Christ, 
The soul of O'Maelchonaire 
From the awful blasts of hell, 
In which are habitations very despicable. 

With fol. 10 commences the narrative of St. Matthew's 
Gospel, accompanied by a most copious catena, which, how- 
ever, stops at the beginning of the twenty-seventh chapter. 
In some cases the matter of the notes grew to such an extent 
upon the scribe that the margins were insufficient to contain 
them, and he was obliged to insert between the regular folios 
slips of vellum, of half the breadth of the ordinary page. 

On upper margin of fol. 1 1 b are introduced two quatrains 
in a delicate hand, comprised in two lines : 

Coic mile map in each 
Sepca mile pfp napmach 
Oo pil lacoib lp eol Dam 
lmm oen mnai Do pochpacap 

Cimcell ban ocup mace mm 
Cpebe beooa beniamin 
Ocup cimcell inD aip polab 
pop muiricip labip galaD. 

Five thousand, great the battalion, 
And seventy thousand armed men, 
Of the seed of Jacob, it is known to me, 
On account of one woman they all fell. 

* The green or plain of execution. 



58 

About the women and tender children 
Of the lively tribe of Benjamin, 
And about the slaughter that was brought 
Upon the people of Jabes Galaad.* 

Fol. 13, lower margin : 

.1. TTlac in cagaipc Cuignecha. 

Line moice hi cup inolechinnig pea. Rob cfnnaip Dia pop 
amnain TDaelippa. pp. 

' Mac-intagart of Tuighnetha.'f 

' The writing of my tutor is at the beginning of this page. May 
God be gentle to the soul of Maelissa.' Pater. 

Fol. 34 b, lower margin : 

.}. 5. pe. — Nepcip Gpechae 5mm glicc 
lngen peccach 00 philip 
Sa lip a ceno nip bacaip 
Do chunnig cenn mic Sachaip. 

' The grand-daughter of Aretas,$ of the cunning deed, 
The sinful daughter of Philip, 
In the court her power was not despicable, 
It was she that craved the head of Zacharias' son.' 

Fol. 36, lower margin : 

pocucb. c. — 6ccna mcliucc comaple 
pip nfpc gaipe gup 
Omun piat>ac pop bich ce 
Sechc Dana t)e t>un. 

* These lines refer to the events recorded in Judges, caps, xix.-xxi. 

t Now Tynan, a parish in the diocese and county of Armagh. The name 
occurs in the Calendar of the O'Clerys, at the 29th of August, iu connexion 
with St.Winnoc : limbic £ui§neat;a. " Vulgo Tuighnean, sed reetius Teagh- 
neatha appellata." — Colgan, Trias Thaum., pp. 34, n. 69; 183, n. 222. 

J Herod Antipas' first wife was daughter of Aretas, King of Petreea; but 
she fled from her husband's court as soon as Herodias, with Salome, obtained 
the ascendency there. Jerom (in Matt, xiv.) falls into the same error with 
the writer of the above poem, in making Herodias daughter of Aretas instead 
of Aristobulus. 



59 

Fothadh* cecinti. — ' "Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, 

Knowledge, Might, Stern watchfulness, 
The Fear of the Lord in this passing world, 
Are the seven gifts of God unto us.'f 
Fol. 50 is an inserted slip, having a long note, at the foot 

of which is written in an extremely minute hand : 

Oiamab ail lem no pcpibabamo m qiaccab uli amal po. 
' If I wished I could write the whole commentary like this.' 

The Gospel according to St. Mark begins at fol. 61, and 
is introduced with the usual symbol of the Lion, drawn, how- 
ever, as Wanley observes, " by one who never saw the crea- 
ture." The marginal catena recommences with this Gospel, but 
only proceeds for seven pages, stopping at fol. 64, and not so 
delicately written as in the preceding. The Gospel ends at 
fol. 86, with the signature : 

Op bo TTlaelbpijsce qui pcpibpic nunc libpum. 
' A prayer for Maelbrigid who wrote this book.' 

St. Luke begins at fol. 87, and has the symbol of an Ox, 
rudely executed. The catena on this Gospel goes no further 
than four pages, breaking off at foot of fol. 88 b. 

Fol. 97 b, in a single line in margin is : 

Quibam c Cpiap po chotnupc Cpipc cam 

Oiapabai tpipc hi calmam; 

lnsfn lapuip am, 

TTlac na peoba, ocup La^ap. 

Quidam cecinit. — ' Three that were resuscitated by the gentle Christ 
When he was for a time upon earth ; 
The daughter of Jairus the noble, 
The son of the widow, and Lazarus.' 

St. John's Gospel begins at fol. 128, and ends at fol. 156. 
It has neither the evangelical symbol, nor any scholia. 

* Fothadh na Canoine, who flourished A. D. 804. See Four Masters, 799. 
t Borrowed from Isaiah, xi. 2, 3. 



60 

The scholia, which profess to be taken from various writers, 
are generally prefixed with the author's name, or a portion of 
it. Thus, the extracts from St. Jerom are marked with the 
signatures h., lp., hip., mponimup; those from Venerable Bede 
by b., be., bea., beaba ; Gregory, 55. Besides these, the names 
of Origen, Cyprian, Eusebius, Priscian, Isidore, and Leo, occur. 
The most frequent references are to Manchanus, under the 
signatures m., ma., man. At fol. 44 b, marg., is a note on 
Matt. xxi. 25 : 

bapcipfri lohon. .1. copmica quepcio opicup .1. ba cuaplucuo 
bia cfpcae peom in ceipc 00 pac Cpipc t»oib, nam pi oi^ippenc 
bapcip. lahoiT eppec be celo ie& po bochoip 001b bo pab quia 
bi;nppec eip llle be me ec be mea pocepcace, bicenp ecce 
agnup, pL 

' Baptismus Johannis, i. e. cornuta questio oritur, i. e. the question 
which Christ put to them was a solution to their own question, nam sidix- 
issent Baptismus Johannis esset de ccdo, what they ought to have said was, 
quia dixisset eis ille de me et de mea potestale, dicens Ecce Agnus, fyc? 

At lower margin of fol. 48 b is a short note on Matt. xxiv. 
26, from the same writer : 

TTlan. Si aucem bi^epmc, pi., Gcce in bepepco .1. uc piunc 
anchopicae. 

'Manchan. Si autem dixerint, fyc. Ecce in deserto, i.e.utfiunt 
anchoritae. 7 

At foot of fol. 49 is the following note on Matt. xxiv. 21 : 

TTlafii. Gpic enim • he • opace Cpibulacio .1. ucmacep pilium 
comebac m obpeppa ciuicace .1. TTIapia nomen eiup .1. ap cia ba 
mop biliu coppaig bomain moian pomboi ocup lp oen pian poboi 
mci bib anbpu bin bilpiancaib cpipc • 1111 • anmp ec bimebio 
ocup bicilapba lapianai ocup anbiglai . upque mobo .1. at) cem- 
pup quob mobo. 

' Manchan. Erit enim ■ hyeme ■ orate , Tribulatio, i. e. ut mater 
filium comedat in obsessa civitate, i. e. Maria nomen ejus, i. e. for, though 
great the loveliness of the beginning of the world, greater was the pain 



61 

[i. e. the deluge] that came on it ; but it was only one pain that came on 
it. The many pains of Christ were more intense .1111. annis et dimedio, 
and the pains and vengeance for them shall be more numerous and in- 
tense. wJ modo, i. e. ad tempus, quod modo? 

Of the subscriptions to the Gospels that after St. Mark 
has been given above. At the end of St. Matthew is the fol- 
lowing : 

Op 00 TTIaelbpigce qui pcpibpic hunc libpum. Ip mop in 
5mm Copmac Tnac Capchaig 00 mapbao o Caipoelbach .h. 
bpiam Fol. 60. 

' A prayer for Maelbrigid qui scripsit hunc librum. Tis a terrible 
deed, Cormac Mac Carthy to be killed by Turlogh O'Brien.' 

The allusion is to an event which the Four Masters thus 
record at the year 1138 : " Cormac, son of Muireadhach, son 
of Carthach, King of Desmond, and bishop of the kings of 
Ireland for bestowal of jewels and wealth upon the clergy and 
the churches, an improver of territories and churches, was 
killed in his own house by treachery, by Toirdhealbhach son of 
Diarmaid Ua Briain, and by the two sons of O'Conor Kerry." 

At the end of St. Luke, the scribe's name appears again, 
but with a different chronological note : 

Off bo TTlaelbpisce qui pcpibpic h. I. in ^^"uni" anno aecacip 
puae. In toapa bliaoam laippin gofchaig moip pfm. — Fol. 127 *• 

' A prayer for Maelbrigid qui scripsit hunc librum in xxviii" anno 
wtatis suas; The second year after the great storm was this. 1 * 

* John Toland, whose real name was O'Toolan, was a native of Eskaheen 
in Inishowen, near Derry, where Irish was the language commonly spoken 
in his time. (See O'Donovan, An. Four Mast. 464.) He undertook to inter- 
pret this passage, and his autograph, which is pasted on p. 194 of Wanley's 
Catalogue, vol. v., contains this translation: "Orate pro Brigidiano qui 
scribsit hunc librum in vicesimo octavo anno aetatis suae secundo auno ab 
aedificatione magna: domus." Mr. Westwood, who translates from Wanley's 
Catalogue instead of the original, places the occurrence "in the second year 
after the building of the great house."! At least he should have followed 
Dr. O'Conor, who interprets the passage correctly. 



62 

Here he reckons inclusively, and refers to an event which 
is thus described by the Four Masters at the year 1 137 : "A 
great storm throughout Ireland, which prostrated many trees, 
houses, churches, and [other] buildings, and swept men and 
cattle into the sea, in Moy-Conaille" [the present county of 
Louth]. So far the writer of this manuscript is not only at one 
with himself, but also bears testimony, the more honourable as 
it is undesigned, to the correctness of our native chronicles : 
but there remains another subscription, which, a3 the colophon 
of the whole volume, exceeds the others in detail, and contains 
a number of collateral criteria for fixing its date. It has been 
already printed by Dr. Charles O'Conor, in evidence of the 
historic fidelity of the Irish annals,* and by Dr. Petrief for 
another purpose, but it may be well to adduce it a third time, 
in order to complete the present description : 

ȣ< Op Do TOaelbpigce h-Ua TTlaeluanaig, qui pcpibpic he 
libpum .1. in nGpb TTlacha. Ocup in n-ampip Donnchabha hUa 
Cepbdill apbptg Gipgiall po pcpibat), ,i. mbliabain ban pepibe 
beac pop Kal. 6naip .i. ip in bliabam po mapbab Copmac mac 
Capbaic pigfpcop TFluman -| h6penn ap chena m na ampip. 

dceac po ti pi^pa h6penn ip in nampip pein ,i, TTlupcfpcac 
mac Nel na tochlainb Giltuch. Cuulab mac Conchobuip pig 
Ulab. TTlupcach ua TTIaelpechlaiTib pig TYlibe. Diapmaic mac 
TTlupchaba pig Lagen. Conchobop ua Opiain pigTTluman. Gaip- 
belbach ua Conchobaip pig Connachc. 

.i. mac int) ip bema bo lb bipnn 

5iUa mac Liac mac mic Ruaibpi hi comapbap paqiaic. 

beunachc ap cech oen legpap ppip in lebup pa, gebeb paicip 
ap anmam in pcpibaeba, uaip ipmop hacecep ecip coppi cpac- 
cab Fol. 156 b. 

* Rerum Hibernicar. Scriptor. vol. i., Prolegom. pars ii- p. 143, where a 
fac-simile is given. It has also been partly given by O'Brien, in his Irish 
Dictionary, voce Curmac. A fac-simile is among the specimens of Irish MSS. 
in Mr. Purton Cooper's unpublished " Appendix A" to the Report of the Eng- 
lish Record Commissioners. 

f Inquiry into the Origin, &c, of the Round Towers of Ireland, p. 303. 



63 

' A prayer for Maelbrigid O'Maeluanaigh qui scripsit hum librum, 
i. e. at Armagh. And in the time of Donough O'Carroll, chief king 
of Oriel, it was written, i. e. the year in which the 16th was on the 
Calends of January, i. e. the year in which Connac Mac Carty, King- 
bishop of Munster and of Ireland generally in his time, was killed. 

' These also are the kings of Erin at this time, namely, Murcher- 
tach son of Niall O'Lochlain, at Ailech ; Cooley son of Connor, King 
of Uladh; Murchadh OMelaghlin, King of Meath; Dermod MacMur- 
rough, King of Leinster; Connor O'Brien, King of Munster; Tur- 
logh O'Connor, King of Connacht. 

' Gilla-mac-liag, the son of the son of Eoory (i. e. the son of the 
poet of the Ui-Birinn), in the successorship of Patrick. 

' A blessing on every one who will pardon the faults of this book, 
let him say a pater for the soul of the scribe ; for it much requires 
indulgence both in text and commentaries.' 

Dr. O'Conor has entered into a Ml examination of this 
record, and has shown, by a comparison of its details with no- 
tices in the Irish annals, what harmony exists between these 
independent records, adding, as well he might : " A sasculo 
inauditum esse existimo, in rebus prajsertirn Septentrionalibus, 
veritatem facti cujuscumque antiqui tanta rerum in uno anno 
concordantium varietate, totque personarum, locorum, et cir- 
cumstantiarum adjunctis - , qua; alibi quam in nostris Annalibus 
inveniri nequeunt, possit tam dilucide et inconcusse demon- 
strari." 

Of the subsequent history of this manuscript nothing is 
known till the commencement of the last century, at which 
period it was shown as a Saxon manuscript in the Royal Li- 
brary at Paris. This we gather from the following statement 
of Pere Simon : " On trouve dans la Bibliotheque du Roi un 
beau Manuscrit Latin des quatre Evangiles ecrit il y a pour le 
moins 800 ans en vieux caracteree Saxons. Le Copiste qui 
etoit un Moine Benedictin prend le nom de Dom iElbrigte, & 
il ajoftte a la fin de son Exemplaire plusieurs lignes en langage 
Saxon. Outre le texte des Evangiles, cet exemplaire contient 



64 

de petites gloses interlineaires en Latin sur de certains mots, 
avec quelques notes marginaJes qui composent une espece de 
petite ehaine reciieillie de Saint Hilaire, de Saint Ambroise, de 
Saint Augustin, de Gennadius, et ee me semble de Bede, qui 
est indique par la seule lettre B. comme' Saint Jerome est in- 
dique par la lettre H. Ces notes, dont il y en a quelques unes 
fort impertinentes, & qui sont apparement du Compilateur, 
viennent de deux mains ; car les unes sont en caracteres Saxons, 
& les autres en caracteres Latins : celles-ci sont beaucoup plus 
recentes."* 

Simon's error in the division of the original words oomael- 
bpigce was natural enough to one unacquainted with the prac- 
tice of Irish scribes ; and, though a little too venturesome in 
describing the handwriting and language as Saxon, he did no 
more than err with Mabillon, Muratori, and other great autho- 
rities in re diplomatica. It has been the misfortune of ancient 
Irish literature that its remains, through the subordinate con- 
dition of this country, have, both in England and abroad, been, 
almost without a dissentient voice, adjudged to the Anglo- 
Saxon school, whereby not only has the merit of the teacher 
been transferred to the disciple, but a great obstruction has 
been placed in the way of an acquaintance with Irish manu- 
scripts which are scattered through Europe ; the Irish scholar 
neglecting to examine them, because they are called Saxon ; 
and the English to consult them, because unable. 

What notes Simon intended as the fort impertinentes, he 
has not mentioned : possibly that already cited at p. 50, from 
fol. 5 b, and the following : 

puphcaru a puplo pege, uc Tiepooicmi ab Tiepobe, ec Cpip- 
ciam a Cpipco — Fol. 3. 

On Matt. xvi. 18, ©c e$o oico cibi quia cu ep pecpup -| 
pupep heme pecpam ebipicabo ecclepiam. G;t hoc loco epipcopi 

* Bibliotheque Critique, par Mr. De Sainjore, vol. i. p. 271-5. (Par. 1708.) 



65 

ec ppepbicepi laccanc ec appumunc aliquot) be pupepbia papi 
peopum, uc uel bampnenc mnocencep uel poluenc, cum apub 
Oominum non pencencia peb eopum uica quepacup. Quomobo 
in Leuicico pacepbop leppopum munbum pacic, non quo pacep- 
bocep leppopop munbop uel immunbop pacianc j^et) quo habeanc 
noaciam leppopi ec non leppopi, pic ec hie alligac-) poluic epip- 
copup non eop qui mponcep punc ec no;cu, peb ppo pacpipicto 
puo cum peccacopum aubiepic uapiecacep pcic qui liganbup 
pic, qui poluenbup. — Supep banc pecpam .1. pupep ce quia cu ep 
pecpa, ec pupep pecpam quia connipup ep .1. pupep me. — Fol. 38. 

Again, on 6c cibi babo clauep pegm celopum, verse 19 : 
Clauep mipcepia pcpipcupapum, uel 1111. clauep hommip .1. pi- 
bem, ppem, cogicacionep, ec opup. 11. quoque hominip, .1. ceppi- 
cam ec accualem uicam. Qui aucem poluic mbigne uel ligac, uc 
Spegopiup aic, a ppoppia pocepcace pe ppiuac Ibid. 

Again, fol. 54 (inserted slip) : TTlanchan. — Ppimo quaepi- 
cup pi hec appumpcio panip -\ calicip pigupa an hipcopia an pen- 
pup pigupa epc. ppaccio aucem panip pigupac coppup con- 
ppaccum a milicibup m cpuce; n m omnibup panccip icepaca 
pappio epc bum paciuncup, a Chpipco upque ab pinem munbi. 
8eb camen non uc piebanc pigupe legip, quae ceppauepunc; hec 
uepo pijupa cobibie icepacup. 

Quapco quaepicup an aqua in hac oblacione accipicup ea- 
bem caupa quia euangelipca bi;tepic inquic be lacepe aqua ec 
panguip, icem pigupam Cpipci cenec umum, aqua uepo populi, 
nam pic lunguncup. 

Fol. 55 : Cenancibup uepo eip. lepup accepic panem .1. 
agno ucique papchali immolaco accipic panem be panibup 
llliup cene, accepic panem uc panem ppo capm in pacpipicium 
ab hominibup accepippec Oeup. ec benebipric .1. uc mipcice 
coppup eiup piepec. 81c bicicup panip aucem quern ppangimup 
Chpipci coppup epc. Ppegic .1. pigmpicac quia coppup eiup in 
pappione ppangepecup. Spi. panip hie ecclepia epc quia cop- 
pup Chpipci accipicup in pibe, benebicicup in habunbancia, 
ppangicup in copmencip, bacup in e^emplip. TDebicque bipci- 
pulip puip pp . pigmpicac quob ab eop pope pepuppeccionem 
uencupup eppec. Coppup meum .1. uc pic hec uepa hopcia, non 

vol. v. F 



66 

ajnup, non uiculup, non hipcup, non caupup. hec epc ppima 
noui nepcamenci pigupa. TYlanchanup. Gc hoc bvcic ne nopcpa 
oubicapec pibep be pacpipicio cobibiano in ecclepnp quod cop- 
pup Chpipci epc, quoniam Chpipcup in toe^cpa Dei pebec— 6c 
accipienp calicem. In Ivca legivnup buop calicep quibup'ppo- 
pinnapec, unum ppmu menpip, ec alcepum r-ecunbi, uc qui 
ppimo menpe agnum comeoepec non pocuepic pecunoo menpe 
mcep pemcencep. 

Simon's " Bibliotheque Critique," which was published in 
1708, seems to have drawn some attention to this manuscript ; 
and his account of its age and origin, coupled with its beauty 
and compactness, recommended it to the cupidity of one who, 
about that time, was carrying on an infamous traffic in manu- 
scripts, which he purloined from the Bibliotheque du Roi. This 
was the miscreant John Aymon, whose morality was as loose 
as his religious principles, and whose depredations on the 
King's Library have been made the subject of well-earned re- 
probation.* In 1708 our countryman, John Toland, was living 
at the Hague, where he became acquainted with Aymon, and 
obtained a loan of the manuscript under consideration. This 
we learn from Letter II. in his Nazarenus, where he states 
that he had it in his custody about half a year, and adds in a 
note that he wrote his dissertation upon it in the year 1 709-t 
He must have been aware also of the depository to which it 



* See Biographie Universelle, voce Aymon (vol. Hi. p. 137); Le Prince's 
History of the Bibliotheqne du Roi; Silvestre's Paleographie Universelle, 
vol. ii. p. 31 ; vol. iii. under " Bible dite de Saint-Denis," about the middle. 
A more particular account of the MSS. stolen by him (nearly all of which 
are now in the British Museum) was printed bv Sir Frederick Madden in the 
Gentleman's Magazine for 1832, translated from the German of Uffenbach's 
Travels, published in 1753. Uffenbach saw this very MS. with Aymon in 
Jan. 29, 1711— (Gent. Mag., vol. cii. pp. 30-32.) See also Universal Palaeo- 
graphy, by M. J. B. Silvestre, translated by Sir Frederick Madden, vol. i. 
p 179; vol. ii. p. 472. (Lond. 1850.) 

t Nazarenus, Letter II. p. 15. (Lond. 1718.) 



67 

belonged by right, and of the mode in which it was carried 
away, for he quotes Simon's statement, where it is described 
as being in the Bibliotheque du Roi, and subsequently remarks 
that, " The person who conveyed it out of France was under 
the same illusion with Father Simon, that it was the work of 
an Anglo-Saxon, till I undeceiv'd him, together with some 
others of great distinction." 

It soon after passed into other hands, for in 1718 Toland 
writes : " The book is come into England, being purchased by 
the Earl of Oxford, in whose large collection of manuscripts 
it is not the least valuable piece." The particulars of the pur- 
chase are thus given by Wanley in his MS. catalogue : " Co- 
dex membranaceus in 4 to minori, quem a Joanne Aymone in 
Hollandia redemit illustrissimus Dominus meus." 

" When Mr. Toland first spake of it to me (for I had the 
first notice of this and the other manuscripts bought of Mr. 
Aymon from him), he said it was 900 years old ; and upon the 
large account he gave of its rarity, joyned to 900 years Anti- 
quity, I presently offered 20 Guineas for it." 

Wanley, however, had more discernment than his infor- 
mant, and soon came to the conclusion " that this book was 
written in or about 1 139." 



January 27, 1851. 

HUMPHREY LLOYD, D.D., President, 
in the Chair. 

The President reminded the Meeting of a Resolution of the 
Academy,* which had been adopted just previous to his elec- 
tion, limiting the tenure of the office of President to five years, 
and declaring it to be inexpedient to re-elect the same pei*son 
President at the expiration of that time. 

* See Proceedings, vol. iii. p. 192. 
F 2